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Florida Supreme Court Upholds 15-Week Abortion Ban, Opens Door For “Pro-Abortion Amendment”

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The Florida Supreme Court upheld the state’s 15-week abortion ban, ruling the restriction does not violate the state constitution’s privacy clause.

With the ruling, the state’s six-week abortion ban will take effect in 30 days.

“We conclude there is no basis under the Privacy Clause to invalidate the statute. In doing so, we recede from our prior decisions in which—relying on reasoning the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected— we held that the Privacy Clause guaranteed the right to receive an abortion through the end of the second trimester,” Florida Supreme Court Justice Jamie R. Grosshans said, according to Florida’s Voice. 

Florida’s Voice reports:

The court ruled in favor of the state’s 15-week abortion ban, which triggered the six-week ban to go into effect 30 days after the ruling.

The Florida Legislature approved, and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the six-week abortion ban April 2023.

Exceptions include abortions up to 15 weeks for rape, incest and human trafficking. Other exceptions include if the mother’s life is at risk.

There is trigger language in the six-week bill for the abortion ban to go into effect 30 days after one of the following events occurred:

  • The Florida Supreme court ruling overturns one of several other related cases
  • A Florida Supreme court ruling stating that the privacy clause in the Florida Constitution does not protect the right to abortion
  • An amendment to the Florida Constitution which provides the same.

From LifeNews:

Today the state’s high court upheld both the 15 week and heartbeat laws. In a 6-1 ruling, the Florida Supreme Court upheld Florida’s law protecting preborn children from most abortions after 15 weeks. The decision paves the way for additional protections for preborn babies beginning at 6 weeks.

Unborn children who can feel pain will remain protected and a law protecting babies with a heartbeat will go into effect on May 1 after today’s ruling from the Florida Supreme Court.

“Today’s victory for unborn children who have a heartbeat and can feel pain is in line with the views of the majority of Floridians who want to protect babies and serve mothers and families. As Florida faces what may be its biggest ballot fight yet, Gov. Ron DeSantis must be at the forefront of protecting Florida from Big Abortion’s attempt to eliminate the rights of unborn children, parents, women, and girls. Gov. DeSantis signed protections for babies who feel pain and have a heartbeat into law and now he must lead in defending those protections,” said SBA ProLife State Policy Director Katie Daniel of Tampa in response to the ruling.

Polling shows the heartbeat law is right in line with the views of Florida residents.

However, Floridians will have the final say on abortion in the Sunshine State later this year.

The Florida Supreme Court also allowed a proposed ballot initiative titled “Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion.”

“I applaud the Florida Supreme Court’s decision today to allow a ballot initiative protecting abortion rights in the Sunshine State. Everyone deserves the right to make their own healthcare decisions, and this referendum gives women the opportunity to voice that opinion,” Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) said.

“We are very disappointed that a deceptively worded pro-abortion amendment is allowed to appear on Florida’s ballot in November.  If passed, it will allow abortions up to 6 months of pregnancy and, thanks to a loophole, even to point of birth,” Florida GOP Chairman Evan Power said.

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“This is the wording of the Abortion Ballot Measure that Florida voters will decide on this November! It will ENSHRINE the right to Abortion into the Florida Constitution. It needs 60% to pass,” reporter Chris Nelson commented.

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Nelson provided a summary on the Florida Supreme Court’s rulings on abortion:

1) Florida’s Supreme Court UPHELD the state’s 15-week ban — and thus allowing a six-week ban to go into effect — while also saying Floridians can vote in November on an abortion-access amendment.

2) In upholding the state’s current 15-week ban on abortion, the court stated that the right to privacy included in Florida’s constitution does not include abortion.

3) In 30 days, a six-week ban on abortion, known as the Heartbeat Protection Act, will go into effect and remain unless Florida voters approve Amendment 4.

4) Amendment 4 would protect access to the procedure until viability, which is estimated to be about 24 weeks of pregnancy. The initiative must receive support from 60% of Florida voters to be approved.

Fox News reports:

Florida’s highest court issued a pair of rulings Monday that upholds a 15-week ban on abortion and allows voters to decide on a proposed constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortion rights.

The ruling by the Florida Supreme Court rejected an argument by the state Attorney General Ashley Moody that a proposed amendment on the matter should be kept off of the ballot.

In a post on X, Moody said her office appreciated the court “revisiting its precedent on Florida’s right to privacy and returning the meaning of that amendment to the voters’ original intention.”

“That decision outlines the difficulties and divisiveness of allowing vague and misleading initiatives on the ballot,” she wrote. “We have argued from the beginning that these two new constitutional initiatives will mislead voters. We maintain that it will be an uphill battle to educate them. However, we respect the court’s decisions.”

Moody, a Republican, argued that the amendment was deceptive and that voters won’t realize how far it will expand access to abortion.

“Not only will this measure bring dangerous late-term abortions back to Florida, but it will allow girls who aren’t old enough to get their ears pierced on their own get an abortion without a parent’s okay,” said Katie Daniel, the Florida policy director for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which filed a brief opposing the proposed amendment. “Those girls and the women who have abortions will be put at risk when this measure eliminates every abortion health regulation on the books.”

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